A Critique of D.H.Lawrence's "State of Funk"

Essay by bobwatsonUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2006

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Often censured for his emphasis on sex, his stereotyped female characters, and his frequently-blatant sexism, Lawrence remains one of the important figures in British literary modernism. Also a poet and essayist, Lawrence's greatest influence is fiction. His use of topographical detail to evoke a sense of precise locale was especially attractive to American writers like Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson. In addition to his attention to surfaces as a way to delineate place, Lawrence's determination to discover new and vital methods to evoke a clear psychological attitude has profoundly affected the development of prose fiction in this century. Based on The State of Funk, the following will discuss, how key elements generally appearing in his works can be linked to his article, thus revealing that there is more to his writings than mere obscenity.

Strangely enough, Lawrence repeatedly distanced himself from his contemporaries and aligned himself with Victorian writers like George Eliot and Thomas Hardy.

Modern writers, he insisted, unlike him "who as a novelist feels it is the change inside the individual which is (his) real concern."(Lawrence, State of Funk, p.367) were too clever and unfeeling, too preoccupied with individual consciousness:

So there you have the "serious" novel, dying in a very long-drawn-out fourteen-

volume death-agony, and absorbedly, childishly interested in the phenomenon.

"Did I feel a twinge in my little toe, or didn't I?" asks every character of Mr Joyce

or of Miss Richardson or M. Proust. Is my aura a blend of frankincense and orange pekoe and boot-blacking, or is it myrrh and bacon-fat and Shetland tweed? The audience round the death-bed gapes for the answer. And when, in a sepulchral tone, the answer comes at length, after hundreds of pages: "It is none of these, it is abysmal chloro-coryanbasis, "the audience quivers all over, and murmurs: "That's...